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Renting a Home

Review of the Residential Tenancy Act 1997

 

Residential Tenancy Amendment Bill 2013 tabled in Parliament

 

On Wednesday 20 March 2013, the Minister for Corrections and Consumer Protection, Nick McKim MP, tabled the Residential Tenancy Amendment Bill 2013 in the Tasmanian Parliament.

 

The Bill proposed a number of amendments to update the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 in order to bring the legislation more in line with the current rental market, and balance the rights and obligations of tenants and property owners.

 

Key provisions of the Bill included:

 

  • extended notice periods at the end of a lease to provide greater certainty of tenure and more time for tenants to relocate where necessary;
  • expanding the jurisdiction of the Residential Tenancy Commissioner to include making decisions about unreasonable rent increases and issuing orders for repairs;
  • requiring all properties be advertised or offered for rent at a fixed price;
  • the introduction of minimum standards for rental properties; and
  • clarifying the responsibility of property owners and tenants for maintenance and repairs.

 

Smoke alarms in residential rental properties

 

In August 2012, the Tasmanian Parliament passed the Residential Tenancy Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Act 2012, (the Act) requiring that, from 1 May 2013, owners of residential rental properties must ensure smoke alarms are in place in their rental properties while they are tenanted under a residential tenancy agreement. 

 

The Act is supported by the Residential Tenancy (Smoke Alarms) Regulations 2012. The Regulations set out the detailed requirements for the:

 

  • class of premises required to have smoke alarms;
  • type of smoke alarms required;
  • number of smoke alarms required in premises;
  • location of smoke alarms in premises; and
  • maintenance, testing and cleaning obligations of property owners and tenants

 

The Act provides that for the first 3 years (from 1 May 2013), 9 volt removable battery alarms will comply with the legislation. However, after the initial 3 year transition period, alarms must be either mains powered or 10 year non removable battery alarms, in order to comply.

 

View the legislation

 

Consumer Affairs has prepared some explanatory material to assist tenants and owners in understanding the new requirements and in particular their obligations under the new Act. Download the Smoke Alarms fact sheet [pdf/369kb/6 pages].  

 

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